HomeFeatured VehiclesPick of the Day: 1992 Mazda/Autozam AZ-1

Pick of the Day: 1992 Mazda/Autozam AZ-1

This JDM is the ultimate commuter car?


Several decades ago, we were worried about the Russians coming. Today, it seems the Japanese are coming — that is, JDM imports. The Japanese market had all kinds of neat cars that were never imported to the States, many of which are starting to appear on our shores for collectors. One of those is our Pick of the Day: 1992 Autozam AZ-1. It’s for sale on by a dealership in Christiansburg, Virginia. (Click the link to view the listing)

There are two stories within this car. Let’s start first with the idea of a kei-class vehicle. It’s a specific category in Japan for the smallest passenger vehicles that are allowed on Japanese highways. To a Western enthusiast, “city car” may not be a bad way to characterize it. Regulations specify the maximum size, engine capacity, and power output to keep it within a particular tax and insurance bracket.

The second story is about Autozam, which is a brand that doesn’t fall on a Westerner’s radar. The CliffsNotes version is that Mazda created the brand as a subsidiary for promoting its smaller cars, plus several Suzuki models and even imported Italians from Lancia and Autobianchi.

For all intents and purposes, the Autozam AZ-1 was a mid-engined kei-class Mazda available from 1992-94. This two-seater was powered by a turbocharged Suzuki 657cc inline-three. However, what made this little commuter stand out was its gullwing doors. Available in blue or red with silver lower cladding, they sold poorly in a recessionary market that preferred value over kicks. By the time the model was killed, 4,392 were built, plus an additional 531 sold as the Suzuki Cara.

There also was a Mazdaspeed version of the AZ-1, believe it or not. Tweaks included a monochromatic body kit that featured a more aggressive hood with more pronounced headlights, special front facia, and tall rear spoiler. Suspension and exhaust tweaks were also part of the package.

The seller of this 1992 Autozam AZ-1 leaves plenty to the imagination because the only thing listed in the description is “96,096 kilometers,” which translates to a hair under 60,000 miles. The monochromatic paint and body pieces suggest this may be a Mazdaspeed version, but anyone can add a kit to a car so we’d suggest you reach out to the dealer to get the skinny on this kei car. If the thought of the ultimate commuter car is interesting to you, then $29,710 is your cost of entry to the world of gullwings.

To view this listing on, see Pick of the Day.

Diego Rosenberg
Diego Rosenberg
Lead Writer Diego Rosenberg is a native of Wilmington, Delaware and Princeton, New Jersey, giving him plenty of exposure to the charms of Carlisle and Englishtown. Though his first love is Citroen, he fell for muscle cars after being seduced by 1950s finned flyers—in fact, he’s written two books on American muscle. But please don’t think there is a strong American bias because foreign weirdness is never far from his heart. With a penchant for underground music from the 1960-70s, Diego and his family reside in metropolitan Phoenix.


  1. You recently featured at 1937, 540 K Mercedes Benz I’m trying to find it in my email and Ken is there anyway that you can send me a link to that?


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